Deep-sea benthic foraminifera are an important and widely used marine proxy to understand paleoceanographic and paleoclimatic changes on regional and global scales, owing to their sensitivity to oceanic and climatic turnovers. Some species of benthic foraminifera are sensitive to changes in water mass properties whereas others are sensitive to organic fluxes and deep-sea oxygenation. Benthic faunal diversity has been found closely linked to food web, bottom water oxygen levels, and substrate and water mass stability. The present study is aimed at analyzing species diversity trends in benthic foraminifera and their linkages with Indian monsoon variability during the Neogene. Species diversity of benthic foraminifera is examined in terms of number of species (S), information function (H), equitability (E) and Sanders’ rarefied values, which were combined with relative abundances of high and low productivity benthic foraminifera at Ocean Drilling Program Hole 730A, Oman margin, western Arabian Sea. The Oman margin offers the best opportunity to understand monsoon-driven changes in benthic diversity since summer monsoon winds have greater impact on the study area. The species diversity was higher during the early Miocene Climatic Optimum (∼17.2–16.4 Ma) followed by a decrease during 16.4–13 Ma coinciding with a major increase in Antarctic ice volume and increased formation of Antarctic Bottom Water. All the diversity parameters show an increase during 13–11.6 Ma, a gradual decrease during 11.6–9 Ma and then an increase with a maximum at 7 Ma. Thereafter the values show little change until 1.2 Ma when all the parameters abruptly decrease. The benthic foraminiferal populations and diversity at Hole 730A were mainly driven by the Indian monsoon, and polar waters might have played a minor or no role since early Neogene period as the Arabian Sea is an enclosed basin.
Volume 129, 2020
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